Providing evidence-based therapies for couples of all ages and relationship statuses
For more than a decade, Dr. Tomassetti has worked with couples at all stages of their relationship, including before marriage and after divorce. Like individual therapy, the reasons that couples seek counseling are myriad. Some couples engage in therapy to prepare for cohabitation, recover from infidelity, improve communication, or to more effectively co-parent after a separation or divorce.
For distressed couples who find themselves engaging in repeated patterns or themes that make it difficult to resolve conflicts or experience a sense of fulfillment through the relationship, Dr. Tomassetti offers two forms of evidence-based couples therapy. Following your couple’s intake session, she will help you determine which is the better fit for your relationship needs:
Integrative Behavioral Couple Therapy (IBCT)
IBCT is an empirically supported intervention for couples in distress. It seeks to balance acceptance and change using principles of behaviorism. In IBCT, couples learn to reinterpret their partner’s behavior in a neutral to positive manner, communicate more effectively, and problem solve more efficiently. The result is that partners feel less polarized in the relationship and better able to work as a team.
PROVIDING EVIDENCE-BASED THERAPIES FOR COUPLES OF ALL AGES AND RELATIONSHIP STATUSES
For more than a decade, Dr. Tomassetti has worked with couples at all stages of their relationship, including before marriage and after divorce. Like individual therapy, the reasons that couples seek counseling are myriad. Some couples engage in therapy to prepare for cohabitation, recover from infidelity, reconnect following familial conflict or loss, improve communication, or to more effectively co-parent after a separation or divorce. Whatever your reason for initiating services, Dr. Tomassetti will work alongside you and your partner to foster an environment where you feel safe to voice concerns, explore goals for treatment, and identify concrete behavioral changes to implement.
Through the use of evidence-based practices, Dr. Tomassetti equips couples with tools to become solution-focused in their relationship, creating a shift in perspective from pointing out weaknesses to acknowledging and appreciating one another’s strengths and differences. Adopting more adaptive behaviors and perspectives allows for growth and improvement in each couple’s relational well-being, which can positively impact other aspects of one’s life, within and outside of the couple’s relationship. Continue reading below to learn more about the types of evidence-based couples therapy offered by Dr. Tomassetti.
For distressed couples who find themselves engaging in repeated patterns or themes that make it difficult to resolve conflict or experience a sense of fulfillment through the relationship, Dr. Tomassetti offers two forms of evidence-based couples therapy: Integrative Behavioral Couples Therapy (IBCT) and Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT). Following your intake session, she will help you determine which is the better fit to best resolve your relationship concerns and meet your relationship needs.
Integrative Behavioral Couples Therapy (IBCT)
IBCT is an empirically supported intervention for couples in distress. It seeks to balance acceptance and change using principles of behaviorism. In IBCT, couples learn to reinterpret their partner’s behavior in a neutral to positive manner, communicate more effectively, and problem-solve more efficiently. The result is that partners feel less polarized in the relationship and better able to work as a team. Studies have demonstrated long-lasting benefits from IBCT. In fact, couples who participate in IBCT, compared to traditional behavioral couples therapy, have been found to exemplify continued strengths in communication, be characterized by less negativity, and display fewer withdrawal behaviors two-years post-treatment (Baucom et al., 2011). IBCT has also resulted in couples experiencing increased satisfaction, stability, and intimacy (Christensen et al., 2004), resulting in decreased risk for divorce (Roddy et al., 2016). Furthermore, the benefits of IBCT have been found to extend beyond that of the couple’s relationship, in that research has demonstrated positive impacts on how the individual functions alone, how the individual co-parents with one they are no longer romantically involved with, and even extends to the functioning of one’s child/children (Gattis et al., 2008; Roddy et al., 2016).
Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT)
EFT is an evidence-based intervention for couples in distress. Through EFT, couples learn to better express their emotions, increase empathy, and strengthen secure attachment in the relationship. By focusing on your partner’s experience, rather than your own, opportunities arise for listening and problem-solving. Through this process, couples learn to spend less time explaining, and more time listening. EFT has been shown to increase emotional intimacy, leaving couples feeling more connected and satisfied with the health of their relationship (Roddy et al., 2016). Moreover, couples who undergo EFT often report feeling increased validation, encouragement, and support in their relationship, resulting in both partners feeling like their needs are being better met by the other (Byrne et al., 2004). In addition, research has demonstrated that those who participate in EFT experience more secure attachments in their relationship throughout treatment and post-treatment (Burgess et al., 2016). Having a more secure attachment with one’s partner can then lead to greater emotional connection and security, as well as increased understanding, acceptance, and even improved self-esteem.
Frequently Asked Questions
Like individual therapy, couples therapy is a highly individualized treatment which strives to reduce relational distress, marital dissatisfaction, and/or interpersonal conflict. This type of treatment is empirically supported and designed to improve one’s relational quality of life. Couples therapy with Dr. Tomassetti is designed to heal past hurts and identify destructive patterns, making way healthier interactions in the future.
While a couple may profit from therapy in a number of ways, some common benefits include: improved relationship satisfaction, increased stability in one’s relationship, enhanced emotional and/or physical intimacy, and improved interpersonal skills, such as communication skills, problem-solving skills, and conflict resolution skills.
Research shows that couples therapy also improves individual functioning and child-rearing abilities, for both partnered parents and non-partnered co-parents. This improved functioning at the individual level will have a positive impact on the functioning of one’s child/children. Therefore, couple’s therapy can not only benefit the couple, but can actually provide benefits to the individual, their household, or others that they interact with socially.
Couples therapy begins with an intake evaluation during which Dr. Tomassetti thoroughly assesses the couple’s needs. She gathers relevant information regarding the presenting concerns, defines the identified problem areas, explores the couple’s communication patterns and conflict resolution styles, and then collaboratively establishes treatment goals with the couple. Dr. Tomassetti educates her clients on the types of evidence-based couples therapy options she provides, and works with them to determine which treatment option would best address their concerns and meet their treatment goals. The remainder of treatment is goal-directed and includes evidence-based interventions to equip the couple with the skills necessary to resolve their concerns and meet their goals. Throughout treatment, Dr. Tomassetti is collaborative in her approach with couples, providing regular feedback, and designating helpful activities to maintain progress between sessions.
Couples seek out therapy for various reasons. Knowing when it is the “right time” largely depends on the couple and their presenting concerns. Some indicators that couples therapy may be beneficial include: preparing for an upcoming change (e.g., preparing for cohabitation, marriage, or the starting of a family), processing and resolving relational distress (e.g., infidelity or hostile relational patterns), working through familial traumatic events (e.g., the death of a child or loved one, severe injury of a partner, or job loss), or striving to improve interpersonal effectiveness in a relationship (e.g., communication skills, problem-solving skills, money management, emotional intimacy, or child-rearing skills). Additionally, if you notice signs such as increased criticism, withdrawal, or frequent disagreements, these could necessitate the use of evidence-based couples therapy to bring about peace and resolution.
Dr. Tomassetti specifically offers IBCT and EFT, both of which have been found to have long-lasting positive effects, even five years post-treatment. Currently, Dr. Tomassetti has received five out of five stars for the couples therapy she provides in both Louisiana and New York. She is highly recommended by former clients and encourages prospective couples to check out the testimonial section of her website.
Though length of treatment is individualized to best meet specific couples’ needs, Dr. Tomassetti employs evidence-based treatments which begin with a thorough assessment allowing for an efficient process in identifying needs and establishing treatment goals. From there, she operates from a solution-focused orientation which allows for clients to quickly acquire evidence-based skills for symptom relief and conflict resolution. On average, most couples report seeing a meaningful change in functioning within 10 to 12 sessions, with many couples continuing to improve over the course of six to ten months of treatment. This estimate will depend on the couple’s needs, their motivation for and interest in treatment, and their active engagement in intervention application between sessions.
Dr. Tomassetti welcomes clients to write down specific concerns and/or goals they would like to voice during the initial intake appointment. Additionally, couples should be prepared to provide background information regarding the history of their relationship, including but not limited to, how they met, what attracted them to one another, when their concerns first began, how they agree or disagree on the presenting concern for treatment, and what they would like to get out of treatment (i.e., what changes they hope to see in their relationship).
In any type of therapy, be that individual or couples, it is imperative that clients feel comfortable and believe they can work collaboratively with their treatment provider. For this reason, Dr. Tomassetti encourages her clients to ask questions regarding her educational and professional background, her theoretical orientation, and her interpersonal approach to working with clients. Throughout treatment, she welcomes questions and regularly elicits feedback from her clients to ensure she is providing the best care possible.
While activities are individualized to meet each specific couple’s needs, some activities one could expect would include those which lead to effective communication, enable teamwork in problem-solving and conflict resolution, permit for emotional and/or physical connectivity and intimacy, and develop enhanced listening skills leading to understanding, validation, and support. Couples can expect to not only engage in activities within sessions, but to receive recommended action plans to carry out between sessions, thus promoting optimal and efficient growth throughout treatment.